Monday, January 31, 2011

On Fear and PiYo

Thursday night marked my return to fitness. I had been working on a big project for my day job that had kept me in the office until 7pm or later each night for most of January so fitness was put on the back burner in favor of sleep. My eating stayed in check and overall I came out relatively unscathed, but I feel my muscles losing their tone. I knew I couldn't keep sliding by any longer. The project ended and I needed to get back on the exercise horse. I had a Groupon that would get me two months worth of classes at a place near work. I was excited about the idea of having some options and not having to stick to the same routine. I decided to try PiYo. The write up on the website didn't give many details other than it was great for weight loss and toning. I enjoy both of those things so I signed up for their class at 5:30pm. I was nervous. I knew it was partially due to not knowing the lay of the land, having to find a new spot in a new locker room, not knowing where the studio was, etc etc. I also had to keep reminding myself that the studio would not be 105 degrees, and I would not want to vomit-that was strangely hard to keep in mind after months of Bikram. I also knew the root of the fear was about moving on in my journey. I have worked hard at maintenance all of these months, but really, it's time to move forward.

I walked into the place and it was a bit meh. By meh I mean it was kind of bare bones, had a strange layout and the young (slightly inarticulate) staff didn't even require me to fill out any kind of personal information. Hmmm...hope I don't break my arm here.

So class begins and most people have their shoes off. Ok, I guess this is a barefoot class, good to know. Everyone grabs grungy black yoga mats from a cubby. Ok, I will get one too (although I have my own  CLEAN mat and would have been happy to bring it). I adjust my my mat with standard etiquette only to have a late comer plant herself directly in front of me adn the mirror. Bad Karma, late comer, bad Karma. So the playmate and cheerleader instructor announces that this class is a Pliates and Yoga combo for people who are too ADD for Pilates and Yoga (her words, not mine). Ok...I like pilates and could be cool. I also should have totally figured out what the class was by the title. However, I also think that the best place to find a good class description would be in the description on the studio website. I digress. The music bagn and we were off like crazy monkeys without a real warm up or any instructions or corrections on form. We just had to follow the pretzel-y playmate and cheerleader instructor jarring our necks every which way to see what we were supposed to do in the very cold room. It definitely kept my heart rate up and I have definitely been sore for days so I know my muscles were worked, but my neck is a mess! I left very concerned and wanting to call the Pilates and Yoga police (does that exist?!) Friday I did some research and PiYo is an actual fitness practice, but I found my experience to be extremely dangerous. I'm sure there are places and instructors who teach it well, so I would like to think I just happened on the worst place to take it. One thing I learned from doing so many months of Bikram is that form and breathing are vital. We did not focus on either.

Imagine doing this for the very first time (with no level one option) in a dim, freezing room with loud music making it so you can barely hear the playmate and cheerleader instructor.

This new place offers some Zumba classes so I am going to stick to those. Yeesh. I just don't trust them and I do not like feeling that way about a fitness studio.

However, three cheers for me for getting back on track!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Lap top still not fixed. I think I need to hold out for a Mac. However if I get a Mac it will be really hard not to want to buy the crazy software where I can make professional looking movies.....which will mostly be adorable flicks starring my dog:
Since my last several months of entries are about how stressed and busy I am (which couldn't be less fun to read about) I want to refrain from that this year. Same old stuff lately, although a huge project came to fruition last week and I am looking forward what I anticipate to be a much calmer week compared to oh, the last two months.

I am a fan of the mom/adorable seamstress/gardening blog Dig This Chick. She sometimes shares her delicious vegetarian eats. Please make the White Bean and Black Olive Soup she found in The Moosewood Cookbook. It's easy, savory, nutirious and wallet friendly. I know, I thought black olives in a soup would be weird, but it really adds something! Putting the garlic in at the end keeps the flavor so deliciously intense. Of course in BB30 fashion, I added way more garlic than the recipe calls for. I've made this soup twice in two weeks. The first time I forgot navy beans at the grocery store and the only thing my quick around-the-corner CVS had was  butter beans, and I have to say it was the happiest of accidents. I will always use butter beans from now on for the additional starchy punch they give.

Eat this.

White Bean and Black Olive Soup
Adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook.
You'll need:
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 gloves, garlic minced (I go Rachael Ray and grate mine in)
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 - 1 1/2 cups oven roasted tomatoes (I used Hunt's Fire Roasted since I don't have canned fresh ones)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
4 cups water (I like using 2 cups of water and the liquid from the canned tomatoes and starchy bean water)
2 cups cooked navy beans (I used butter beans the first time and 1 can butter/1 can navy the second time)
1 can sliced black olives

Throw a few tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot over high heat, add onion. ( I did a spritz of oil with my Misto in a non stick pot and on tsp of Earth Balance.) Cook for a few minutes. Add celery, carrots and green pepper. Cook for five minutes. Add water and barely bring to boil. Add tomatoes, beans and olives. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add garlic, basil, salt and pepper. So good.

Here's mine:
Yep, I have to go heat some up now. YUM!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Separation Anxiety

My lap top died a week ago. This means I have a several posts I cannot get up. Aren't you dying to see my husbands beautiful New Year's Day feast featuring a great menu for meat free-ers and meat eaters alike to enjoy? Don' you need to know about my cheese-less broccoli cheese soup?

So if you would like to send me a new lap top that would be great. I have several things I need to get done. (I will also take the alternative-suggestions on which new lap top I should invest in...I'm thinking it's time for a Mac.) (I will also take a second alternative, money for this new lap top.....I'm trying to live off of half my income to save lap tops are tough to swing!)

I've had the brutal reminder of how reliant I am on my lap top. At night after a looooong day, it's just part of my lap!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Exercise Revelation

Last week I returned to Bikram. With how crazy December was with my day job and obligations I had been away for several weeks. I actually felt panic and anxiety going back. It felt stressful. The last couple of times I had gone were really tough (and not in an invigorating way). This time was no different. It felt hotter than ever before, the smell was killing me and people's bad yoga etiquette was unnerving. Many times I don't feel motivated to suit up, pack up, get to the studio, do 90 minutes of yoga, rinse off, come home, and shower again. It's quite time consuming. However, I was coming out feeling proud of myself and accomplished and magnificent. This last time, I felt miserable. The monotony of doing the same 26 postures since August is really getting to me. The lovely owner of the studio has spoken before about finding a way to make each day of practice new and focusing on breathing, etc (she's been at this for years and practices most days each week), but I think I am just a person who needs variety. I have a month left of  my package and I hate to waste money (even with the killer deal I got), but honestly I am not sure I will make it in more than once a week. I think there is an underlying emotional issue with this (seems to always be the case with food and fitness does it not). I get down sometimes because there is no end to working on myself. Although I have come a long way from that 75lb kindergartner and almost 200lb high school junior, I will always have to keep myself in check. It's exhausting. Since having some time off this week I have had the chance to see some wonderful films (shout out to Crazyheart and The King's Speech) and I realized that I simply cannot throw in the towel and give up my dream of being an actor. It's what I am, it's who I am and I need to fight for it. This fight includes being more diligent about working out and moving forward with improving my physique. It's a neverending battle of accepting the situation and accepting myself. I think most of us go through this same battle. Doesn't make it any easier though. I have done a great job of maintenance, but I must move through the frustration and push on.

I have to add in variety back into exercise. I have a great deal for two months of workouts at a place near my day job that has Zumba (which I am so excited about), Kickboxing (yay) and more, but I kind of wanted to wait to use them once Bikram is over.

Does anyone have any favorite exercise DVDs I should get? I don't have OnDemand anymore and it was always my go-to for a little something different.